The hospitality industry has always been a natural home for entrepreneurs, whether it be Stelios and his EasyHotel chain, Hotel du Vin's Robin Hutson, Simon Woodroffe with his Yo! concepts or Johnny Sandelson's GuestInvest buy-to-let scheme. But it seems that the constant rise in property prices is preventing the next generation of entrepreneurs from flourishing in the sector.
New research from Deloitte reveals that the number of hospitality and leisure businesses going into administration rose by a staggering 50% last year. In a sector that tends to work on tight margins and a leased premises model, the increases in rent and deposit costs are becoming too much for many small businesses.
In Opinion this week, consultant Max Lawrence urges landlords to encourage shorter and more flexible leases, rent-free periods and a move away from the damaging system of precedent rent reviews.
But Woodroffe insists it is up to operators to show more creativity by focusing on innovation and looking at less desirable areas where there are lower property prices.
There is no one solution, but it is clear something needs to be done to ensure hospitality doesn't lose out on the brightest business brains.
This week sees the launch of Caterer‘s Chef Conference, which will be celebrating its 25th birthday this year. We have cooked up a great "Best of British" theme, which will culminate in a gala dinner to be cooked by a stellar cast of chefs from around the British Isles.
If that gastronomic delight is not enough to whet your appetite, the day will be packed with cooking demonstrations from top chefs such as John Campbell and Philip Howard and tours around some of London's best-known kitchens.
If you want to find out more, then go to www.caterersearch.com/chefconference, where you will find all the latest news about the conference, details of guest speakers and a downloadable form that you can fill in and return to seal your place.
• To find out what our journalists think about the latest goings-on in the hospitality industry, see the new Caterer blog… Find it at www.caterersearch.com/blogs/catering-news-blog